Kim Shank Named Loehr Innovative Science Teacher

September 6, 2016

IPEI Cheryl and SteveKim Shank, Beverly J. Martin Elementary School first-grade teacher was honored with the 2016 Raymond C. Loehr Innovative Science Teaching Award at the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Convocation on September 6. Managed by the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), the award was presented by Loehr’s son Stephen Yale-Loehr and Cheryl Mitchell, IPEI Board member.

“I’m grateful for this recognition of the value of integrating science in all subject areas, both in and out of the classroom. Science is a natural and exciting way to engage students in learning across subject areas. I look forward to telling my students about the award because their curiosity is my inspiration.” expressed Shank. “I also appreciate the para-professionals who have supported me as we take very young children on outings and when more hands are needed during classroom activities.”

Mitchell, who serves on the Awards Committee of the IPEI Board, announced that Susan Eschbach, principal of BJM, nominated Shank who has been teaching from an interdisciplinary framework for 20 years in grades pre-K through fourth-grade.

“On any given day her children are engaged in an inquiry-based approach to their work and play. She breathes scientific exploration and experimentation into each experience. For example, when doing a sorting activity, she creates taxonomies so that children examine their fresh fruit and vegetable snacks with an eye toward color, shape, what kind of plant they grow on and what else their shape may mimic in the room,” said Eschbach of her dedicated colleague.

Raymond C. Loehr’s family initiated the teaching award at the time of his 70th birthday in honor of his career as a science educator. It has been presented to eleven different teachers from Ithaca’s elementary and secondary schools. A second award in his honor is presented each June to a student who excels in environmental science.

Steven Manley, executive director of IPEI, introduced Mitchell at the Convocation. He reviewed IPEI’s various roles working with the ICSD community. Among them, IPEI manages a number of funds established by community members to honor and remember special people through scholarships and awards.

Steve Manley Joins IPEI as Executive DirectorWelcome to New School Year!